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Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Open Thread

It's 5:45am and I'm about to leave for a business trip to Orlando. Will be back to the computer Friday, as far as I can tell. In the meantime, I leave you nice people with this open thread for discussion and entertainment.

Here's a topic to get things moving...

What do you think of the Summer Play Festival (SPF)? Has anyone been involved with it that can tell us all a little bit about it?

15 comments:

Lucas Krech said...

SPF is fantastic. Great support staff. You actually get to do a little show instead of just smashing something together.

Anonymous said...

I'm annoyed by the SPF. It started out as a place for new works. Then this last year, they picked a whole bunch of name talent playwrights who are already established or their work had been workshopped at Long Wharf, Steppenwolf, Sundance, etc. That's NOT new work. I found out (only because one of my friends is a reader) that they now changed the criteria to plays that have not had a full production before. There is a big difference. So even that is commercialized.

Joshua said...

Their selection process does seem to be a bit, well, skewed . . . I'm glad they do full productions but cannot for the life of me figure out how they choose one play over another - it seems random and terribly subjective, which I guess is to be expected.

Mark said...

Good for them, I say. I disagree with anonymous: plays that have not had productions ARE new work. Plays that only have had readings have never been produced. Anybody that's taking new plays out of the development circuit and putting them into production is tops with me.

Lucas Krech said...

I have to agree w/ Mark. There is a difference between new work and unproduced playwrights. It is important to get new works seen live on stage in front of audience. Before that they are just words on a page, not plays.

Anonymous said...

What I meant was the venue was for new work, and voices that hadn't gotten a chance to be heard. When you get a workshop at Steppenwolf, Long Wharf, etc. you are a playwright that is already on his/her way and are not one of the unheard. It was one of the last companies that seriously considered producing the work of writers without agents. What I'm saying is there is no longer a high profile venue except the Fringe where an unknown can get his work seen withou t the help of buzz,hype, and an agent.

MattJ said...

SPF is great. But I have heard that casting is a real pain in the ass, and I am also disturbed by the fact that they don't allow any reviewers. That said, any venue specifically designed for PRODUCING new work has got its priorities in order.

Anonymous said...

It's not NEW work. It's unpublished work from established names. Theres is a VERY big difference.

Anonymous said...

Pretty soon the only way that unrepresented budding playwrights will get any shot, will be on some reality show, like "Playwright Idol" or "Project Greenlight".

Anonymous said...

One last point, and I'll shut up (I promise). Look at this year's writer's as opposed to the previous two years: Victoria Stewart (She has received the Helen Merrill Award, Ucross/Sundance and Hedgebrook residencies, and the Jerome Fellowship. Her work has been performed at the Public Theater, Seattle Repertory Theater, Hourglass Group, Circle X, Vineyard Theatre, Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre, Pittsburgh Public Theater, Jungle Theater, South Coast Rep, Commonweal Theater Company, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Overlap Productions, and the Guthrie Theater.), and Patrick Page (an established Broadway/regional theatre actor). They are not up and coming writers. They have been UP for a while now. What's new about that?

I'm only saying this because there are no members of the indie theatre community being represented. There are no "little plays that could". One of the last companies left that fostered new works is now starf#cking like the rest of this town.

But they probably have to if they want to survive. That is what is so depressing.

k8 said...

Well, not to promote myself or the company I work with, but we're looking for new plays for a reading series. By anyone. I just want them to be good. So if you're interested in submitting new works (or know anyone who is), send them to me at sandberg@boomerangtheatre.org.

I make no promises, other than to promise we won't have too many BIG names on our list...

Mark said...

The anonymous commenters are using the idea of "name" playwrights and "starfucking" VERY loosely. The idea that the playwrights at this year's SPF are really successful is actually rather humorous and I'm sure they'd all beg to differ. (Peter Morris is the only one who comes close.) My understanding is that playwrights who have not had a major production (i.e. where people got paid) in NY are eligible for SPF. (Again, Peter seems to stand out, but everyone else I think fits that.)

The idea that if someone has a lousy reading at some midsize theater they shouldn't be eligible for an early-career production at SPF is ridiculous. The anonymous commenters want to kick everyone who has ever done *anything* out of the early-career club and that just doesn't wash. None of the SPF writers are household names, even in households that go to the theater.

Anonymous said...

I give up. . . You can take the camel to the water . . . but you can't make him drink.

Adam said...

I have to say anonymous that a couple of these playwrights I have heard of but for the most part these are not the people who are ruling off broadway. They are emerging. Now it's true I'm sure that many of them have been emerging for a while. But these are still struggling people.

The SPF is great and I wish I could see more of the shows. I don't always like the shows and I wish that they would do one of my plays but the plays are incredibly well produced and I love the fact that the SPF is happening. I wish more things existed like this program.

trod said...

Hi Anonymous, I AGREE WITH YOU AND I UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU'RE SAYING. It's true, and it's very sad. I look at the list of playwrights who are in SPF'07 and I highly doubt any of them are unrepresented. I recognize many of these names and know the level to which they have achieved commercially and can not imagine that when they submitted it was using the unrepresented writers option. I wish SPF would throw out this unrepresented writers submission option, if after seriously considering their motives and interests, they admit to themselves that it is 99.9% unlikely that at this point they will ever accept a play from one of those unrepresented writers. I hope so, b/c they must understand that just as it is a ton of work for them to read, it is equally draining for new, unheard/little heard playwrights to submit when we are so often rejected. And you know what, all, as an unrepresented playwright who submitted to SPF'08, I never even got the email of whether or not my play falls w/in their guidelines to read (some of you may know what I'm referring to.) This was something that they stated would go out to the unrepresented who submitted. Clearly they don't even have that much energy for us-just wish they'd admit to themselves what they are. Ah well. Anyway, Anonymous, I know what you're saying ;-)